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    ABSTRACT: Creep feeding can improve growth and performance of piglets before and after weaning, especially if sow milk supply is reduced for any reason, but intake by suckling piglets is often low. It was hypothesised that the sequential presentation of different flavoured creeps each day would stimulate exploratory behaviour and improve feed intake and weight gain during lactation, with subsequent post-weaning benefits. This study aimed at investigating the effect of increasing creep flavour diversity in two lactation housing systems. 36 sows (Large White x Landrace) were used in a 2 × 2 factorial design; sows were randomly allocated to either a farrowing crate or a loose farrowing PigSAFE pen at five days before farrowing, while the litters were further allocated to either a standard or diverse flavour creep feeding regime on day 10 of lactation. Housing system had no main or interactive effect on the feed intake and weight gain of piglets in the lactation and post-weaning periods. Feeding 5 different flavoured creeps (Toffee, Apricot, Butterscotch, Apple and Red fruit) in a daily sequential order increased the hourly frequency of visits to the creep feeder on day 18 of life (P = 0.004), and increased the piglets’ feed intake over days 15-22 of lactation (P = 0.01), and day 22 to weaning at 28d (P = 0.03). When controlling for day of presentation, butterscotch flavoured creep promoted a higher intake than red fruit creep (P = 0.004), with other flavours intermediate. The prior experience of flavour diversity significantly increased weight gain in the first 2 weeks after weaning on a standardised feeding regime for both treatments (P = 0.03). Results suggest that dietary novelty may be a method to stimulate early exploratory behaviour, feed intake and performance.
    Animal Feed Science and Technology 05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Current developments in the pig industry pose increased challenges for piglet survival as a result of selection for increased prolificacy and welfare pressures to abolish the use of farrowing crates. The effect of supplementation of the maternal diet with algal biomass, containing the essential fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), on the performance of sows and their piglets farrowing in two different housing conditions was studied using a 3×2 factorial experiment. A control diet was compared to 2 levels of DHA supplementation from algal biomass (0.03 and 0.3 % DHA, delivered by 1.5 g/kg and 15 g/kg algal biomass) during the last 4 weeks of pregnancy and lactation, using 60 sows (mean parity 4.7 sem 0.32) in two different farrowing systems (farrowing crate and PigSAFE farrowing pen). Two-way analyses of variance showed no statistically significant interactions between dietary treatment and housing system. Piglet survival and growth did not differ between the crate and pen systems. Litter size (13.1 sem 0.42) and piglet birthweight (1.45 sem 0.047 kg) did not differ between dietary treatments, but the number of stillborn piglets per litter was reduced with increasing DHA supplementation (1.13, 0.67, 0.25, sem 0.205, P= 0.014, with litter size covariate). This was despite an increase in farrowing duration of the sows with increased DHA supplementation (150.3, 195.2 and 216.2 sem 13.6 min, P= 0.02). The vitality of the piglets, as described by the latency (min) of the piglets to stand (1.92, 1.44 and 1.17, sem 0.09, P<0.001), to reach the teat (21.55, 15.71 and 11.20, sem 1.35, P<0.001) and to suckle (25.66, 19.14 and 14.83, sem 1.40, P< 0.001), was also improved with increased supplementation of DHA. Mortality of liveborn piglets in the first 3 days, and number weaned per litter (after fostering) were unaffected by treatment, as were sow weight and backfat loss in lactation. However, piglet weaning weight was reduced by DHA supplementation (by up to 12 %). The mechanism for the reduction in stillbirth should be further investigated.
    Livestock Science 04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Biomechanical investigation into locomotor pathology in commercial pigs is lacking despite this being a major concern for the industry. Different floor types are used in modern, intensive pig production systems at different stages of the pigs' production cycle. The general perception holds that slatted and/or hard solid concrete surfaces are inferior to soft straw-covered floors regarding healthy musculoskeletal development. Previous studies have compared pigs housed on different floor types using clinical, subjective assessment of leg weakness and lameness. However, reliability studies generally report a low repeatability of clinical lameness scoring. The objective of this study was to quantitatively assess the long-term effect of pen floors, reflected in the biomechanical gait characteristics and associated welfare of the pigs. A cohort of 24 pigs housed on one of three different floor types was followed from 37 to 90 kg average liveweight, with gait analysis (motion capture) starting at 63 kg. The three floor types were fully slatted concrete, partly slatted concrete and deep straw-bedded surfaces, all located within the same building. Pigs underwent five repeated camera-based motion captures, 7 to 10 days apart, during which 3D coordinate data of reflective skin markers attached to leg anatomical landmarks were collected. Pigs walked on the same solid concrete walkway during captures. One-way ANOVA and repeated measures ANOVA were used to analyse the gait data. Results revealed changes over time in the spatiotemporal gait pattern which were similar in magnitude and direction for the pigs from different floor types. Significant increases in elbow joint flexion with age were observed in all pigs (P⩽0.050; +6°). There were few differences between floor groups, except for the step-to-stride ratio in the hind legs being more irregular in pigs housed on partly slatted floors (P=0.012; 3.6 times higher s.d.) compared with those on 5 to 10 cm straw-bedding in all pen areas. As the level of clinical problems was generally low in this cohort, it may be that floors elicit problems only when there is a primary predisposing factor increasing weakness in susceptible tissues.
    animal 12/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Milk, meat and eggs tend not to be regarded as an important source of PUFA. They are disproportionally high in SFA compared with their PUFA content, especially those from cattle and sheep, since their rumen microbes are responsible for the loss of over 90 % of PUFA intake by livestock. This need not necessarily be the case since the relative proportion of PUFA in these foods is dictated by livestock management, especially feeding, and this can be manipulated to boost their content of crucial long-chain n-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic fatty acids. The present paper considers the fatty acid composition in animal-derived foods and how these can be manipulated to be more conducive for consumers' health. The importance of recognising the effect of livestock production systems on fat composition is also highlighted along with the fact that we may have to compromise between intensive, high levels of production and this particular aspect of food quality.
    Proceedings of The Nutrition Society 12/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Nigeria′s Biofuels Policy introduced in 2007 mandates a 10% blend (E10) of bioethanol with gasoline. This study investigates the potential for the development of a cellulosic ethanol industry based on the availability of agricultural residues and models the number of commercial processing facilities that could be sited in the six Geo-political zones. The potential for cellulosic ethanol production from agricultural residues in Nigeria is 7556 km3 per annum exceeding the mandate of 10% renewable fuel required and providing the potential for 12 large- and 11 medium-scale processing facilities based on the use of a single feedstock. Cassava and yam peelings provided in excess of 80% of the process residues available with enough feedstock to supply 10 large-scale facilities with a fairly even distribution across the zones. Sorghum straw, millet straw and maize stalks represented 75% of the potential resource available from field residues with the potential to supply 2 large- and 7 medium-scale processing facilities, all of which would be located in the north of the country. When a multi-feedstock approach is used, this provides the potential for either 29 large- or 58 medium-scale facilities based on outputs of 250 and 125 km3 per annum respectively.
    Energy Policy 12/2013; 63:207–214.
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    ABSTRACT: The life cycle of most parasitic helminthes is related to their hosts feeding habits. Thus we need to investigate the impact of diet on the host's helminthic parasite burden. Not many studies in captive raptors have been conducted and published regarding parasitic infections. The aim of this study is to evaluate the helminthic burden of raptors kept in captivity and establish a relationship with the feed provided. A total of N = 51 different species of captive birds of prey were fed different diets consisting in different combinations of day old chicks, chicken breast, whole chicken carcass and mice. Their feces were sampled and the parasite burden was determined. A negative binomial model was successfully fitted to the data and the feeds "mice" (P < 0.001) and "whole chicken carcass" (P < 0.001) significantly contributed to an increase in the observed burden. Significant differences were also found between species (P < 0.001). Raptors fed adult animal carcasses and offal may explain the increase in the observed burden as these feeds have a larger probability of being contaminated by a larger variety of helminthic fauna. Zoo Biol. 32:652-654, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Zoo Biology 11/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigates the quality of retail milk labelled as Jersey & Guernsey (JG) when compared with milk without breed specifications (NS) and repeatability of differences over seasons and years. 16 different brands of milk (4 Jersey & Guernsey, 12 non specified breed) were sampled over 2years on 4 occasions. JG milk was associated with both favourable traits for human health, such as the higher total protein, total casein, α-casein, β-casein, κ-casein and α-tocopherol contents, and unfavourable traits, such as the higher concentrations of saturated fat, C12:0, C14:0 and lower concentrations of monounsaturated fatty acids. In summer, JG milk had a higher omega-3:omega-6 ratio than had NS milk. Also, the relative increase in omega-3 fatty acids and α-tocopherol, from winter to summer, was greater in JG milk. The latter characteristic could be of use in breeding schemes and farming systems producing niche dairy products. Seasonality had a more marked impact on the fatty acid composition of JG milk than had NS milk, while the opposite was found for protein composition. Potential implication for the findings in human health, producers, industry and consumers are considered.
    Food Chemistry 08/2013; 139(1-4):540-8.
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    ABSTRACT: During the production period from birth to slaughter there are some pigs that grow markedly slower, despite conditions which seem to support the growth of their contemporaries. This reduction in growth inevitably leads to weight variation within a group, causes difficulties with management and results in system inefficiencies. By understanding the factors which contribute to poor growth, the performance of these slow growing pigs might be improved, thereby decreasing the overall variability at slaughter. The aim of this paper was to analyse the factors associated with poor growth performance in pigs from birth to slaughter, determine the effect of piglet birth weight (BiW) and weaning weight (WW) on lifetime growth, and investigate the capacity of small piglets to compensate for any BW deficit. Two industry databases, with individual data for approximately 40,000 and 90,000 pigs respectively, and containing weight profiles and relevant variables, were analysed. BW at birth, weaning, intermediate and finishing stages were available, as well as sex, month of birth and litter size information (number born alive, total born including still born), sow parity number and length of gestation. Absolute and relative growth rates, based on adjusted weight for age, were calculated for each time interval and 3 types of analysis were performed: a logistic regression, a continuous linear plateau model and a weight category analysis. For both datasets poor absolute and relative growth from birth to final BW was associated with low BiW (P < 0.001), low WW (P < 0.001), sex (P < 0.001), breed code (P < 0.001) and month of birth (P < 0.001). The linear plateau model suggested that the relationship between BiW and lifetime growth was not linear beyond 1.91 (database 1) or 1.84 (database 2) kg; the same applied to the relationship between WW at 21 d and finish BW (FW) growth, which was not linear beyond 7.53 kg. Finally, the weight category analysis revealed that piglets with the lowest BiW were able to exhibit compensatory growth from BiW to FW with 74 (database 1) and 82% (database 2) moving at least 1 BW 3 category. It is concluded that growth performance to slaughter is not solely reliant on pig BiW, with WW also playing a critical role. Additionally, piglets with BiW below the average are capable of some degree of compensatory growth; this provides the opportunity for managing them so as to improve their lifetime growth.
    Journal of Animal Science 07/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: EU legislation requires that growing pigs are provided with suitable materials that satisfy their needs for investigation and manipulation. Although commercial pig keepers have tried a variety of different enrichment materials and methods of presentation, the benefits to the pig have not always been clear. The aim of this paper was to determine: (1) the extent to which provision of separate enrichment materials gives predictable additive increases in occupation time, (2) whether there is consistency in the relative use of different enrichment materials over time and, if so, and (3) whether a rapid methodology could be used to evaluate the relative enrichment value of a particular material for growing pigs. A total of 36 growing pigs (mean liveweight 36 kg) were used, housed in 12 groups of 3 in part-slatted pens in a controlled environment building. Four enrichment materials with different properties were compared: two hanging objects suspended above the pen (sisal rope, R and metal chain, C) and two foraging substrates provided in a trough (sawdust, S and wood shavings, W). The materials were presented in pairs, in all six combinations (CR, CW, CS, RW, RS and WS) with each group of pigs exposed to one combination of materials for five days followed by the other two materials for a further five days. Time interacting with each enrichment material was determined on a per pen basis. The results showed that although the pigs very quickly habituated to all of the enrichment materials, they spent a greater proportion of time interacting with some materials than others (e.g. rope: 0.17, sawdust: 0.04; P < 0.001). Pairing the four different enrichment materials in different combinations affected the relative proportion of time pigs spent with different materials. For example, pigs spent relatively more of enrichment-directed time with the chain when it was paired with sawdust compared to when it was paired with shavings (0.82 versus 0.46 of total enrichment-directed time; SEM 0.078, P < 0.01). However, for all materials there was consistency in the absolute level of interaction over the 5-day test period, with proportion of total time engaged with a given material not significantly different in different pairings. It is concluded that, for the materials used in the current study at least, use of enrichment materials is additive and relatively independent. The findings of this study suggest that a simple paired test, where any potential new enrichment material is presented alongside a material of known occupational value (to avoid any bias due to habituation, the test animals should be naïve to both enrichment materials), could be used to predict the enrichment value of the new material.
    Applied Animal Behaviour Science 03/2013; 144(s 3–4):102–107.
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    ABSTRACT: Various ethical issues are associated with agrifood nanotechnology, linked to the ethical concepts of autonomy, beneficence, non-malfeasance and justice (ensuring safety, effective risk assessment, transparency, consumer benefits and choice, animal welfare and environmental protection). Nanotechnology applications are currently covered by legislative instruments originally designed for other purposes. Risk assessment procedures are in most cases not specific to (agrifood) nano-materials, resulting in uncertainty regarding the nature and extent of potential risks. There are currently no requirements for nano-materials used in agrifood production to be labelled. Ethical principles, and societal acceptance require labelling of food products that are produced using nanotechnology.
    Trends in Food Science & Technology 01/2013; 34(1):32–43.
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